Top Business Ideas
- Multiple target markets
- New business opportunities
- Looking after existing customers is so important
- Why you need a CRM that you actually use
- Accounting software
- The importance of an effective business plan
- Where to find support
- Top tip – saving the best ’til last
We have been offering small business advice for many years, advising small business owners in every sector and situation. What follows are our most common areas of advice and our top business tips.
New business ideas are a common theme, as every business needs to have a steady supply of prospects. It is a constant focus (or should be!) for successful small businesses. Having multiple target markets and a different message for each, to exploit new business opportunities is one of our top tips for small business owners.
It is all too easy to get stuck in one or two markets, with all the risk this brings. What if the market changes, and does your business strategy include looking for new business opportunities in wider markets?
Most small business owners have a list of their best business ideas including some very innovative new business opportunities. However they can lack the confidence to put into practice! Sometimes the biggest risk is staying as you are and not changing or adapting. As long as you build a sensible business strategy and a practical business plan, our business advice is to give them a try! Every month at the Business Growth Club we get together to discuss business ideas, sharing best practice and learning from each other – forthcoming meeting dates: BGC Free Meet Ups
Simple Business Ideas – which are easy to do too
Often some of the most successful business ideas are simple ones. A key one revolves around looking after existing customers. Although crucial to seek new customers, your marketing plan must include existing customers too. After all they know you already, and will buy more from you and more frequently too if you ask them!
All too often big companies forget this vital point, even abusing their position with customers. However successful small business companies have an advantage here. They know their customers well, and can be nimble. It isn’t difficult to create a small business marketing plan to look after your customers before somebody else does. Like a competitor for instance, as your customers are their prospects don’t forget. Such a simple business idea, but often overlooked hence it makes it into one of our top small business tips.
Small Business Software
We all rely on IT and software to some degree. The more time we can save by automating processes and using technology, the better. This includes online customer relationship management (CRM) systems to help with the business marketing strategy. After all keeping in touch with prospects and customers is crucial. Far too few small businesses use a CRM effectively or even have one at all. Successful and profitable small businesses do! There is a vast range of CRM systems and there is bound to be one suitable for what you need. They all tend to have a free trial period too. The crucial issue is choosing one you will use, that doesn’t have so many features to overwhelm you. Two I have practical experience of include: Zoho Capsule but of course, there are plenty of other good systems available. Just remember the best CRM is one you will use!
Equally important can be accounting software. Anything that not only makes small business bookkeeping easy, but issuing invoices quickly and simply too, is one of our small business financing top tips! All too often small businesses can be slow to issue an invoice, leading to cashflow problems. While we are talking money, you don’t have to give people 30 days to pay either!
Profitable small businesses have a firm handle on their cashflow and use technology to help them here. There is a wide choice of cloud based software, to include Xero Kashflow Quickbooks Sage Freeagent
Although all of us would agree we should have a business plan, few have anything they actually use. The reasons why (or should I say excuses 😊) are numerous but in essence, boil down to one simple question: Why bother and who cares?
In writing a business plan you should be outlining your new business opportunities, best small business ideas, and of course small business solutions. You are writing it for you, nobody else.
Successful small businesses use their business plan as a route map, helping determine actions that need to be taken. This encompasses every element of the business. This includes financing, marketing, taking new business opportunities. Anything and everything that is going to drive your definition of success.
Once you know the actions needed, it is so much easier to stay on track. If you get deflected (which is bound to happen) at least you will know. It can help to have a business coach to keep you focussed or you could use a business mentor, anybody you trust to act as your critical friend.
This is a key topic, hence it is one of our top tips for small business owners.
Where To Get Small Business Advice
Of course this all depends on what you want and/or feel you need!
You can break this down into different categories. Factual help and advice; small business coach or small business expert; small business courses; local business advice from Government type bodies to include small business support services, small business forums – the list goes on and on!
There is no shortage of people and organisations purporting to help but some caution is needed.
Anybody can set themselves up as a business advisor or business consultant, and my favourite book title was written by Harvey Mackay Wikipedia namely “Beware the naked man who offers you his shirt!”.
Therefore my advice for small business owners is tread carefully. Seek advice from as many people as you can. Take advantage of small business courses, small business coaches and business mentors can most definitely help – just be clear on what it is you want or need first.
After all remember there is no magic wand or perfect solution either!
We work with selected clients and are happy to have an initial free consultation: Coaching
Top Small Business Tip
I’ve saved the best until last. Successful small businesses are very clear on their most profitable business ideas. It is all too easy to think you are in an undeclared price war, especially with the likes of Amazon dominating the headlines with their extraordinary distribution and pricing power.
But unless you are trying to compete with Amazon head to head, the best small business advice is you are probably not charging enough for your product or service.
That doesn’t mean you should simply put your prices up. But what you can and should do is very clearly articulate what makes you different and the extraordinary value you deliver. That you care deeply about getting things right for your customers.
Think about this fact. The top business ideas, the great business ideas, the best business ideas, the most successful business ideas don’t have to be the cheapest! Indeed, nobody cares whether they are the cheapest or not, after all they are the best ideas!
I’ll leave you with this my top small business tip for small business owners. Get this right and you can really capitalise on the new business opportunities that surround us all.
If you need help or just need to talk through your options, get in touch and happy to talk at any time. I’m a tart for coffee if you want to meet, but it has to be good coffee! Call 01603 443355 or 07973 205720 or email:Contact Me